In November 2004, the Association’s Council adopted Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications, a report prepared by a subcommittee of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and approved by Committee A. That report affirmed one “overriding principle”:

Academic freedom, free inquiry, and freedom of expression within the academic community may be limited to no greater extent in electronic format than they are in print, save for the most unusual situation where the very nature of the medium itself might warrant unusual restrictions—and even then only to the extent that such differences demand exceptions or variations. Such obvious differences between old and new media as the vastly greater speed of digital communication, and the far wider audiences that electronic messages may reach, would not, for example, warrant any relaxation of the rigorous precepts of academic freedom.

This fundamental principle still applies, but developments since publication of the 2004 report suggest that a fresh review of issues raised by the continuing growth and transformation of electronic-communications technologies and the evolution of law in this area is appropriate. For instance, the 2004 report focused largely on issues associated with e-mail communications and the posting of materials on websites, online bulletin boards, learning-management systems, blogs, and listservs. Since then, new social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter, have emerged as important vehicles for electronic communication in the academy.